Lots of people, including some of us in the design industry, sometimes forget exactly how far design permeates our everyday lives. Many of us think of design as the ads we see, the websites we visit, the logos in our newspapers. In reality, design reaches into nearly everything we interact with on a daily basis. From your office chair and the layout of your car’s dashboard, to your running shoes and television remote control.

One very interesting design arena, that typically only get recognized for bad design, is staring you in the face at this very moment. No, not web design; the design of your computer’s operating system. When the design and function work well, hardly a peep is mentioned. When they doesn’t work well, the complaints pile up faster than they can be counted. Windows Vista was a recent example of design that took more than its fair share of criticism.

It’s possible that the current design paradigm for computer operating systems has reached its end. In the linked article, you can see the progression of operating system design starting in 1981 and it’s surprising how little the overall concept has changed since then. Is it possible that there’s a better overall design concept than the “windows and boxes” idea that’s been so prevalent for the last 28 years? Or would it not be wise to change something, imperfect as it is, that so many people have become accustomed to?

We like to think that there’s a better solution out there and that good design can always change the world, and people’s lives, for the better. It’s possible that a designer from a completely different industry has an idea that completely shakes up the interface design community and changes it forever. Only time will tell.

Take a peek at the link and re-live all of your ancient computing memories!


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